Suddenly, in the middle of a task, your Mac gives up and restarts without any warning. You see a message that says, ‘Your computer was restarted because of a problem’ because your Mac has encountered a Kernel Error or Panic. It is an issue that typically appears if something is wrong with the macOS kernel. A macOS Kernel is an integral part of Unix-based Operating Systems. The macOS Monterey belongs to the OS family Macintosh Unix, based on Darwin (BSD), so it is no exception for Kernel Panic error.
Software errors in general cause kernel Panic, but hardware problems can also result in Kernel Panic on your Mac. If you have recently upgraded your Mac and are facing a Kernel Panic situation, this blog will walk you through the steps to resolve this issue.
What causes Kernel Panic on Mac?
As discussed above, the Kernel Panic could be due to software or hardware malfunction. The exact cause differs from case to case. Here are the general reasons that might be responsible for causing the Kernel Panic on your MacBook or other Mac systems.
Mere updating the macOS does not absolve you from the duty of taking care of the Apps installed on your Mac. You need to update each App individually from time to time. Outdated Apps are one of the most common reasons behind the Kernel Panic on Mac.
If you don’t recollect updating your macOS and other system files, then the Kernel Panic might be due to outdated macOS and system files. Check for the pending updates by clicking Apple Menu > About this Mac > Software Update.
Fault in Peripheral Devices
This is the simplest and easiest way to identify the reason behind Kernel Panic. Remove all the peripheral devices like keyboard, mouse, etc. and check if the problem is resolved. If yes, connect the removed peripheral devices one by one to identify the faulty device. When you zero down the culprit device, remove it and get it fixed.
Problem with External Device
If you encountered the Kernel Panic after connecting a USB, External Hard Drive, etc., there is a possibility that the problem lies with the external device and not your Mac. The directories of external devices might be corrupted or it is formatted with an incompatible file system. Run the First Aid in Disk Utility on the concerned device to fix the issue.
Note: If First Aid fails to repair the external drive, you need to format it completely or replace it. In such case don’t forget to recover your data using Stellar Data Recovery Free Edition for Mac.
RAM running low on space
If the memory space on your RAM is consumed and it is running low on space, it might result in sudden restarting of your Mac. This issue is typically seen in the older Macs, but it entirely depends on system usage and maintenance. If Apple Diagnostics redirects you to a RAM issue after your Mac restarts, it can be fixed by replacing the RAM module. You may try freeing up space by deleting unnecessary files and Apps. However, to get your RAM extended visit the official repair center to get it done.
How to Resolve the Random Kernel Panic on MacBook M1?
As your Mac suddenly restarts without any warning when it faces Kernel Panic, there is nothing you can do to resolve it. However, you can take certain precautions to stop it from happening in the future. Here is what you can do to prevent a random Kernel Panic on your MacBook M1:
Inspect the crash reports
All Mac systems, including the MacBook M1, keep a record of every activity, including the system’s crashing report. These are quite brief, but you can use them to overview the problem. To see a crash report, click Applications > Utilities and search for Console on the Utilities list.
Choose the Crash Reports option in the left bar and go through the recent reports. You will find phrases like ‘reason: failed because’ or ‘Terminated due to’. You might not get the exact cause, but it will suggest the basic reason from which you can deduce the real cause for Kernel Panic.
Boot your MacBook M1 into Safe Mode
Most of the time, Kernel Panic is caused by faulty or outdated software and Apps. When you boot your Mac into Safe Mode, it uses only the most essential software. If your Mac is running properly in Safe Mode without any issue, you should check for the outdated and faulty software and Apps and either update them or remove them altogether. Here is how you can boot your MacBook M1 into Safe Mode:
- Shut down your MacBook M1 and wait for 10 to 15 seconds.
- Start your system by pressing and holding the Power button.
- From the Startup Options, choose the Startup Disk.
- Press and hold the Shift button and select Continue in Safe Mode.
- Now, release the Shift key.
You have successfully booted your Mac into Safe Mode.
Minimize the number of Login Items
Certain items on your Mac startup immediately when you log in to your Mac. The login items, along with the launch agents, might put immense pressure on your Mac’s operation. If the number of login items is too many, the risk gets higher, and it may cause Kernel Panic and sudden system restart. As discussed below, you can get over this trouble by reducing the number of login items.
- Open System Preferences from the Apple menu and choose the Users and Groups option.
- Click on the Lock icon and enter your password.
- Click the Login Items tab on the top to open the list of login items enabled.
- Click the Minus (-) button at the bottom to reduce the number of items.
- Once done minimizing the items, click the Lock icon again.
Remove the unnecessary Kernel Extensions
Your Mac uses Kexts or Kernel Extensions to establish communication between Kernels and the system’s hardware. These kexts are stored in the Extensions folder in Library. If you find any suspicious or unnecessary external kexts running, you need to remove them, as they might be the ones causing Kernel panic. To remove kexts:
- Open Terminal from Applications and enter the command kextunload.
- Identify the kexts you want to remove.
- Insert the command sudo kextunload /System/Library/Extensions/kext.kext and press Return. (Replace kext.kext with the kext file name you want to remove)
- Enter your Admin password and press Return again.
- Be careful while selecting the kext files to be removed, as you might accidentally remove one of the system kext files used by macOS.
- The macOS Big Sur and macOS Monterey do not support third-party kernel extensions. If your Mac uses any of these macOS, you don’t need to worry about the kext files.
Run Apple Diagnostics
Are you still unable to confirm the cause behind the Kernel Panic on your MacBook M1? If you have made sure that there is nothing wrong with your RAM or software and update your system regularly, the issue might be with the hardware. You need to run Apple Diagnostics on your Mac to identify the hardware that might be responsible for Kernel Panic.
Kernel Panic and frequent and sudden restarting on your Mac is a serious problem, and you need to be cautious to avoid it. Keeping your Mac up to date with updates available from time to time, managing files and Apps regularly, and relieving your Mac of the unnecessary load will help you counter this issue easily. The Kernel Panic and random restarting might cause data loss and other problems on your Mac. However, you can recover any of your accidentally lost data using data recovery software, but better safe than sorry.